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You have to admire the chutzpah of the Saudis in protesting religious intolerance

12 December 2013

5:12 PM

12 December 2013

5:12 PM

Further to yesterday’s post on Britain’s apathy about Christian persecution, the main question people asked in response was: what can Britain do, without military means?

Taking aside that our military power helped to bring about persecution in Iraq and almost certainly would have done in Syria had this government got its way, there are lots of ways you can peacefully influence a country’s politics, including financial and moral pressure. That is what Saudi Arabia does, after all.

The Organisation Islamic Co-operation (OIC), for example, a bloc of 57 Muslim countries dominated by the Saudis, has just released the latest edition of its annual ‘Islamophobia report’.

It states that in the West Islamophobia:

‘…has become increasingly widespread, which, in turn, has caused an increase in the actual number of hate crimes committed against Muslims. These crimes range from the usual verbal abuse and discrimination, particularly in the fields of education and employment, to other acts of violence and vandalism, including physical assaults, attacks on Islamic centers and the desecration of mosques and cemeteries.

‘In this context, acceptance of various forms of intolerance, including hate speech and the propagation of negative stereotypes against Islam and Muslims in some western countries contribute towards proliferation of intolerant societies. This process is further supported by… the exploitation of freedom of expression and perpetuation of an ideological context advocating an inescapable conflict of civilizations.’

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There is nothing wrong with Muslim countries keeping abreast of anti-Muslim prejudice or violence outside their borders. But, as the Gatestone Institute report states:

‘Chapter 4 of the report, “OIC Initiatives and Activities to Counter Islamophobia,” focused on the OIC’s ongoing efforts to promote the so-called Istanbul Process, an aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam. The explicit aim of the Istanbul Process is to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and Islamic Sharia law.’

You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the OIC in monitoring Islamophobia in western Europe where, without exception, Muslims of all kinds have full civil rights. Compare this to Saudi Arabia, where Shia and other Muslim minorities are persecuted along with all other religious groups who don’t conform.

Yet the Foreign Office seems pretty happy to engage with the OIC, and in February Baroness Warsi told them:

‘And the foundation has already been laid. UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on combating religious intolerance, now under the umbrella of the Istanbul process, provides a strong basis from which to work. UN member states have all jointly signed up to a call to action to implement the resolution.’ 

While Foreign Office officials talk to our friends in the OIC about supporting ‘freedom of religion’ and combating ‘intolerance’, the OIC clearly see those phrases in a rather different way to us; the former means the right to freedom of worship, so long as you don’t recruit members from Sunni Islam, insult that religion, leave it, seek equality or any of the things we define as religious freedom. Combating tolerance, in effect, means combating blasphemy. There is a fine line between protecting religion from hatred and protecting it from criticism, and unfortunately the new ‘pro-faith’ British government seems to be doing the latter.

This is what I find strange about interfaith politics in the West; unless you’re living in a godless dictatorship along North Korean lines, and none of us do, the best way to protect religious freedom is through secularism, since religious freedom is most commonly threatened by other religions.

Of course it can go too far, like any other good thing, yet the Church leadership in Britain is far more reluctant to talk about serious anti-Christian violence abroad than it is to address ‘militant secularism’; much as I disagree with many of Britain’s recent discrimination laws, Stonewall and the National Secular Society do not burn down churches.

Britain doesn’t rule the waves, of course, but military power isn’t the only kind: the least Britain could do is to use its influence to draw up an annual report of Christianophobia, and to promote secularism, the best way of ensuring religious freedom.

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Show comments
  • Fasdunkle

    tolerance in islam is a one way street – they demand tolerance while offering none. The OIC is at the forefront of that and it is appalling that western governments pay them any heed at all.

  • Eddie

    The word ‘Islamophobia’ was invented in 1997 by the Runnymede Trust with the specific aim of linking religion and race so as to be able to make legal claims against those who attack religion. However, the only religion meant was Islam.
    Sadly the Religious Offences Bill got through in parliament, though I see there have been no prosecutions.
    Time for the misguided on the left and the pc liberal right/centre/left to abandon their policy of appeasing Islamic extremists and instead demand they integrate – stop allowing them to segregate. That hurts nobody more than moderate Muslims anyway.

  • Daniel Maris

    How many days could Saudi Arabia survive without our support? – by “our” I mean non-Muslim advanced industrial countries.

    I’d say probably 150.

    • Coleridge1

      How long would the racist apartheid state of Pakistan survive without handouts from the UK taxpayer? A week?

  • Coleridge1

    Thankfully those hitherto at the receiving end of fascist Islam in Burma, Mali, Nigeria, Central African Republic and Angola are beginning a fight back against this death cult.

  • Persuasive

    I agree Britain should also put out a report on Christianophobia but the active promotion of a secular society is why we are in the mist to begin with. To they own self be true. No man is an island. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. And all that sort of thing. http://www.couragetolaugh.com

  • saffrin

    Take your point to the Pope Ed. Britain hasn’t been a slave to religious zealots since the late 1700’s

  • Mike

    Islam is living in a bygone age where its excess’s know no bounds and one doesn’t have to be an Islamaphobe to see that it fosters the worst in mankind today.

    Every Islamic country in the world is divided or carved up into minority groups who believe they are the true believers and most have seen or are seeing genocidal war inside their borders. Christianity was no different 500 years ago with Catholics and Protestants killing each other across Europe but now its the turn of Islam to act out its depraved ethnic cleansing of those who disagree with the ‘ruling’ group who ever that may be.

    All religions should be banned from running or controlling a country as given power in that area, they subvert the culture of that country. By and large in Europe, religion is clearly separated from the state and religion & culture are on different paths. Islam in contrast, is the culture & the religion and the two are one and the same thing. As we’ve seen all over the middle east, when you mix fantasy religion with running a country, it all turns to cr** very quickly and civil war & global terrorism is the result.

    When Islam ‘grows up’ in say another 500 years, perhaps it will be benign like all other religions but for the present, its a cancer on the world that brings nothing but misery to millions !

  • Jez

    “Taking aside that our military power helped to bring about persecution in Iraq and almost certainly would have done in Syria had this government got its way….”

    Well said.

  • http://twitter.com/True_Belle True_Belle

    Will the hosts of the world cup in five years time be welcoming and accommodating to the high percentage of Christian football teams … I am sure they will be.
    Sport can win over cultural differences, is that not so?

    • FuglydeQuietzapple

      Sport is commonly said to be a cultural similarity ie something with values we share. Except in cricket.

      • http://twitter.com/True_Belle True_Belle

        Quite, most interesting .. How are India doing in RSA btw?

        • FuglydeQuietzapple

          I think they provided the merchants and so forth at we Brits’ behest.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “The Saudi Arabian Rights Commission”
    Now that`s a collection of words to boggle the mind.

    • Daniel Maris

      Or “Invitation to a Beheading” as it might be subtitled.

  • Richard Sanderson

    As long as these countries have punishments for apostasy and blasphemy, their attempts to pressure the UN and other world bodies to make those “crimes” global should be met with two simple words. The second one is “off”, in case you’re struggling.

  • rtj1211

    I don’t doubt that Islamophobia exists in the Western world: you only have to read blogs at the right wing websites to see that.

    I am in agreement with you, however, that the more intolerant subsections of the Islamic world may not be the optimal communicators of such prejudice.

    Any more than the Christian Right in the USA is the optimal vehicle to preach about the evils of Islam.

    • itaintmojo

      God forbid, if someone from your family ever suffers the same fate as Christians do now, inside Arab controlled territories, of being raped and butchered by Sharia advocates. But if you speak up about the outrage after it happens to affect you, I would not label you as someone who is preaching. Telling us about it is not preaching in my book.

    • Alexsandr

      Islamophobia means an unjustifiable and unreasonable frea of islam. I think most fears are quite justifiable and reasonable.

    • GordonHide

      One of the problems is that when we use the word “Islamophobia” we are talking about bigotry against Muslims. When the OIC talks about “Islamophobia” they are talking aqbout criticism of Islam.
      For myself I will always argue for treating everyone as individuals and, if one must judge, judge the individual by what he or she does. I am in a generally poor position to criticise Islam but I note how dysfunctional majority Islamic countries are. I take this as a sign that the cultures fostered by Islam are not in the best interest of Muslims or anyone else.

    • DazEng

      A PHOBIA is an IRRATIONAL fear of something. Look at wherever Islam is dominant and you will see the most tragic abuses of human rights carried out every day by those who live their entire life by its teachings. Therefore it cannot be irrational to have a fear of such a violent ideology hence there cannot and IS NOT anything such as Islamophobia. This was a term the muslim brotherhood thought up to deflect ALL criticism and it would never have worked if it wasn’t for the odd useful idiot.

  • anotherjoeblogs

    The incredible chutzpah is the Massive Lie – the rational mind just can not fathom out how audacious this ‘ islamophobic report ‘ is and by tying itself in knots, people are tempted to believe that it is true and just. Pure Hitleresque.

    • Daniel Maris

      Very true. But the big lie gets backing when Obama bows to the Saudi King and when Cameron genuflects in their direction. Pathetic. Don’t these people know what freedom is?

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    You say “the least Britain could do is to use its influence to draw up an annual report of Christianophobia.” Well it could go a lot further, if it wasn’t foolishly using a Muslim baroness to promote its objectives, and fight tooth and nail against OIC moves at the UN to impose narrow Islamic definitions on the concepts of free speech and religious freedom. It could but bet it won’t.

    • Randy McDonald

      What is wrong with a Muslim baroness?

      • Chris

        They promote Islam, and that is not a good thing.

        • Randy McDonald

          How? And why is it a good thing, or at least something better or worse than a Christian baroness promoting Christianity?

          • Daniel Maris

            Islam requires submission to Sharia law which makes non-Muslims and women second class citizens. This is what is taught in ALL Islamic universities and schools.

            Modern Islam has not renounced Sharia in the way that Modern Catholics and Protestants have disowned Medieval discrimination.

            Where is the evidence that Baroness has ever denounced Sharia law? I have never seen any.

            • bigsammyb

              Look mate do you have any idea what Sharia law is? Obviously not because if you did you would know it is tribal and is different in every single place it is implemented. It has little or nothing to do with islam.

              • Alexsandr

                don’t be silly. sharia law is justice according to the Koran.

                • bigsammyb

                  Sharia law is based on the old testament and is interpreted different from town to town country to country continent to continent. There is no definitive description of what shariah is.

              • Daniel Maris

                Yes I do.

                You are clearly ignorant of Sharia. Sharia is essentially what is taught in the universities of Islam as being the valid legal system of Islam. Yes, it is implemented in different ways in different parts of the world, just as Roman law was, but it is recognisable wherever it appears and the legal system, like the “black codes” of slave societies in the Americas is rooted in outrageous injustice: treating non-Muslims and women as inferior, second class citizens who can be abused at will.

                Wherever Sharia is a strong influence – e.g. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, society is miserable.

                • bigsammyb

                  Really? Would you then please lay out the list of applicable laws in ‘shariah’ then? Perhaps you’d like to hand me the old testament and then tell me how every legal system in the world is therefore exactly the same? Shariah is different in every single place in the world it is implemented and those ideaologies are based on the same thing as any other legal system. The old testament. Saudi arabian law is totally different to egyptian which is totally different to pakistani. I think you need to look up the word ‘nuance’ inconvenient i know, especially for you it seems.

              • DazEng

                OH HERE WE GO! let me guess…we take it out of context?

                • bigsammyb

                  Take what? Show me a definitive description?

          • pp22pp

            I don’t want to live with Islam. I don’t like it and I don’t want it.

            • bigsammyb

              So don’t.

              • pp22pp

                They are pouring into the West. How do you avoid them?

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        In this context, serious conflict of interest.

  • itaintmojo

    I am an admitted Islamaphobe. Or more precisely I have a bad case of Shariaphobia.

    Sharia butchers who kill British soldiers in Broad daylight.
    Sharia cops who hassle British men holding hands in the street.
    Sharia militia’s that storm a Kenyan Mall, and massacre all those who are not Muslims.
    9/11.
    Boston Marathon.
    Fort Hood Texas.
    Nigerian non Muslim students butchered to death as they sleep.
    French pastors beheaded in a Syrian field to the delight of hundreds of Sharia advocates screaming Allah Akbar.
    Coptic Christians having their homes and churches burned in Egypt, and their kids shot dead in broad daylight.
    Countless car bombers, and suicide bombers who could care less about the hurt and damage they inflict.

    I am Shariaphobic, and with very good reason.

    • Randy McDonald

      It’s worth noting that the vast majority of people killed by Islamist terrorists are, in fact, other Muslims.

      • Chris

        That makes it OK then?

        • Randy McDonald

          Not at all.

          It _does_ mean that, properly understood, Islamist terrorism should be understood as made up of terrorist campaigns directly firstly against other Muslims and secondly against people of other religious backgrounds who are in the way of the campaigns’ particular projects.

          Islamist terrorism does not represent a war by Muslims against the rest of the world; rather, it is a war by certain radical Muslim groups against the rest of the world, starting with other Muslims.

          • Daniel Maris

            Hey Bro, you’re dissing the Jihadis! They are more than capable of (a) hating other people who also claim to be Muslims and, at the same time, (b) hating non-Muslims.

            The fact that that has eluded you makes me rather suspicious of your motives, Bro.

            • Randy McDonald

              Didn’t I say that?

              • Daniel Maris

                No – for some reason you are describing the Jihadis as “Islamists” rather than “Muslims” – which is what they claim to be.

                • Randy McDonald

                  They claim to be Muslims, sure, but to what extent do they actually represent the billion-plus people out there who are Muslims? The mass murders inflicted by Islamists upon other Muslims suggest that the Islamists themselves certainly don’t see these people as sharing their faith.

          • Weaver

            Randy,

            I think it’s rather that other muslims are simply the first targets in range. Islam has bloody borders with every other belief system on the planet…..including itself.

          • Daniel Maris

            So you are saying the founder of Islam never advocated terrorism?

        • Mike

          I think the real point is that Islam is the common factor wherever there is major strife in the world today.

          That said, whilst they’re busy killing each other perhaps the west gets some respite from terrorism.

          • Liberty

            It is by killing deviants [deviants being those who wish to protect women from rape among other things] that the crazies maintain obedience and their power. If they had not then Islam would have died out centuries ago or had an enlightenment.

            That is why, if we maintain our values Islam will morph into a civilised form here in the West or decline.

            • Mike

              We need to enforce our values as currently I see them being diluted through inaction by wet liberals and militants.

      • Coleridge1

        It’s a racist, Christian-persecuting, Jew-hating, women-stoning, Gay-hanging death cult. Ban it.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Not so long ago, that description would have applied to the Catholic Church.

      • Daniel Maris

        Your first accurate statement. Well done.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, I am with you there. I am a Shariaphobe. It is the threat to my personal freedom, the freedom of my family and the freedom of my fellow citizens that concerns me. Islam per se worries me no more than Orthodox Judaism or Scientology.

      • itaintmojo

        I read some of your comments, and I liked them all. There are well over 300 million Sharia advocates amongst the 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet. I’m sure you are with me, that if they don’t reform, and amend Sharia to be more tolerant, then the crap they pull will never end.

  • NedMissingTeeth

    Double standards of the worst kind as ever from the Saudis. Sorry to sound a bit over dramatic but Islam really is going to change the face of the UK over the next few decades and any meaningful debate is shut down before it has begun. We are sleepwalking into an Islamic nightmare.

    • Chris

      past tense please, not future.

      • NedMissingTeeth

        You sound defeated already. Cheer up, Flower.

    • GordonHide

      Those who believe that Islam could “take over” here have no confidence in the strength of Western culture. Ours is by far a superior way of life on any reading.
      Here is a list of features of Western society that are just
      as attractive to Muslims as they are to anybody else:

      We have the rule of law.
      We have equality before the law.
      We have a lot less violence in our societies than your average Muslim country.
      We have freedom of expression.
      Spain, (35 million people), on its own, creates more literature worthy of translation into other languages than the entire Muslim Ummah put together.
      We have created entire countries where no child need go to bed hungry.
      All religions, including Islam, may be freely practised.
      We have managed to keep corruption to manageable levels
      where it is more or less endemic across the Ummah.
      We generally succeed in changing to a new, more popular, government without violence.
      We have made great strides in gender equality.
      We have decriminalised homosexuality.
      We in Western style countries make almost all the scientific
      and technical advances.
      Western style countries dominate the tables in surveys about
      prosperity, honesty, longevity, literacy, education and personal happiness.

      Muslims are also people. This means that a fair proportion will be attracted to these features. Whether this involves them leaving Islam
      or adapting to a “Western culture friendly” form of Islam or some
      other compromise hardly matters.

      If we are in any danger it is from our own politicians and
      administrators failing to enforce the rule of law or compromising our values.

      • global city

        It is not necessarily a take over, but the aggression and misery a sizeable percentage of Muslims in the country would bring.

  • laurence

    Ed, I can think of absolutely nothing to admire about Saudi Arabia. Were it not for our addiction to petro-chemicals, we could leave this ghastly country and its equally ghastly neighbours to the obscurity they rightly enjoyed before the advent of the motor car.

    • Daniel Maris

      That’s why adopting green energy policies is vital our future.

      • Alexsandr

        no. we need to be fracking.
        NOW!

        • Jambo25

          You can do both.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, I would advocate doing both. It makes sense. But fracking needs to proceed on sensible lines in accord with a national plan.

    • BoiledCabbage

      Thats why the USA will be self-reliant in energy in a few years.

  • anyfool

    You say,
    While Foreign Office officials talk to our friends in the OIC about supporting ‘freedom of religion’ and combating ‘intolerance’, the OIC clearly see those phrases in a rather different way to us;
    The whole of the body politic in the West and the UK in particular is corrupted, the politicians see it in exactly that way, the majority of the media see it that way and most of the electorate see it that way because the other two tell them it means something else, there is no us if there had been the would be no so called hate laws, no one would go to jail because someone might be offended.
    The politicians and the weak minded in the media will one day get their just deserts because the cancer that is being promoted in this country will destroy them first, as the bearded men will have no need of them.

    • global city

      We have a fundamental problem in the UK, in that everyone in the Foreign Office wants to be TE Lawrence.

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